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The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) recently published “Deadly Skyline”, the organization’s annual report on construction fatalities throughout New York State. We have broken down the key findings into a series of blogs, but you can also read the report in full here (PDF). This is part 4/8.
Despite the fact that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently received the ability to issue fines 78 percent higher than before in 2016, the average fines handed out by the agency actually dropped by seven percent that year.
As of August 1, 2016, OSHA is permitted to issue these increased construction fatality fines, the first time the permitted fine amount increased since 1990. The change occurred after years of advocacy work conducted by members of OSHA, organizations like the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), and other workers’ safety activists.
The largest fine issued by OSHA in 2016 came after a 63-year-old man fell 25 feet to the ground because a porch roof collapsed. His employer was fined $139,424. Another fine highlighted in the report occurred after two workers were killed in a crane collapse. The company, Cranes Express, had a history of violations, and was fined $64,517 for six violations in total.
Fines of this size are not always handed down when workers are killed on the job. In one case noted in the report, a worker was killed after a plank fell off a scaffold, through safety netting, and struck him on the head. The worker was wearing a hard hat at the time, but the company, LRN Enterprises Corporation, was only fined $12,471 and only received one violation. The company that hired LRN Enterprises Corporation as a contractor, Printing House West Village, advertises itself as a “revolution in industrial luxury”, and sells condos for nearly $11 million. The buildings they construct bring in enormous profits, and these paltry fines are little more than a slap on the wrist.
Our New York City construction accident attorneys understand that fighting for the maximum compensation possible not only helps our clients and their families, but it also sends a message to the business owners and contractors whose negligent actions created a dangerous work environment. We have successfully recovered more than $350 million in verdicts and settlements since the firm was founded, and we are committed to using our knowledge and experience to fight for the rights of each client we work with. Start out with a free case evaluation by filling out our online form, or call us at (212) 577-9325 to discuss your situation over the phone with one of our attorneys today.